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Israel Foreign Ministry sending planes to Australia, New Zealand for stranded Israelis

El Al has decided to operate two additional commercial flights — to New Zealand and Australia — to pick up Israeli tourists stranded abroad, the Foreign Ministry announces.

“In these countries are the largest concentration of Israelis who are interested in returning home,” the ministry says.

In recent weeks, the ministry has cooperated with various airlines and foreign governments to bring thousands of backpackers back to Israel. Later today, two flights from India and Thailand carrying hundreds of Israelis are scheduled to land at Ben-Gurion Airport.

“From the beginning of the corona crisis the Foreign Ministry proved that it will make every effort to repatriate every Israeli who is interested in coming home,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz says. “This is the central mission of our diplomats across the world, and of those who work in Israel.”

As of tomorrow, only 2,151 Israeli tourists interested in returning home will remain stuck abroad, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Meanwhile, easyJet, which usually operates many flights to and from Israel, announces that it has “fully grounded its entire fleet of aircraft.”